Comments and Controversies
Praise for social workers
I am writing concerning Dr. Henry A. Nasrallah’s “Recognizing the unheralded heroes of psychiatry” (From the Editor, Current Psychiatry, December 2010, p. 15-16).
I appreciate the attempt to praise colleagues who often go without recognition, but Dr. Nasrallah omitted a significant group of providers. Clinical social workers make up the largest group of mental health providers in the United States, and often are the only mental health providers in rural areas.1 By neglecting to recognize social workers specifically, Dr. Nasrallah minimizes the importance of the services that we provide. Social workers frequently are forgotten, yet we do at least as much as our physician colleagues, with one-third the pay. Please do not forget us.
Masters of Social Work Candidate, 2011
Salem State University
Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Faulkner Hospital
1. National Association of Social Workers. General fact sheets: social work profession. Available at: www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/features/general/profession.asp. Accessed February 9 2011.
Dr. Nasrallah responds
Thanks for reading Current Psychiatry. You certainly were not left out. Even though I did not mention social workers by name, I included them in my list of heroes. Social workers are part of practically every category I listed, such as investigators, clinicians, reviewers of grants and journals, interactive mental health professionals who write letters to the editors (such as you), pro bono practitioners, assertive community treatment team members, teachers, mentors, and advocates for patients and their families. Good mental health care would be unimaginable without social workers!
Henry A. Nasrallah, MD